Turbocharge your reading and listening


It’s no secret – reading and listening are the key to language development. The more you read and the more you listen, the more your English will grow. It’s that simple. But there are some things you can do to turbocharge (add energy to) your reading and listening to make it more effective.

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Good reads for intermediate English learners


Young adult books are often a good place to start for intermediate English learners who have difficulty reading regular popular fiction.

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How to read more: a lover’s guide


There’s no question about it. Reading and listening are essential for language development. You probably know that. But if you’re like a lot of people, sometimes you need a little nudge and a little encouragement to keep you going. This should do the job!

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A matter of identity


The input you receive from reading and listening is the essential ingredient for language acquisition. But there are other ingredients – for example, the beliefs and feelings you have about yourself, your new language, and its culture – that affect your ability to acquire and use a new language.

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Who’s your (English) mama?


People who must learn a new language to work in another country often work with a native speaker, called a language resource person (LRP), to help them acquire conversational language. There’s a variation on the idea of LRPs – called language parents – that could do the same for you.

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Fine-tune your reading for better English


Reading (and listening) is the key to language development. More specifically, the comprehensible input we get from reading and listening is the key to language development. Without it very little happens. With it, vocabulary grows, a feel for correctness emerges, and fluency increases. Comprehensible input is necessary and also sufficient to achieve your goal – better English.

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Discover great reads by great writers


If you want to improve your English, there’s nothing better than a healthy reading diet of interesting, understandable English. And if you want to become a good writer, there’s no better way than to read the works of good writers. Byliner, a relatively new web site, simplifies finding and choosing good things to read and promises to help you “discover great reads by great writers.”

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Writing lessons from the masters


Good writing comes mostly from reading what good writers have written. But quite a few good writers, like C.S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, and George Orwell, have also taken the time to write tips – practical suggestions – for good writing.

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Something to listen to


If you’re tired of news and want something different to listen to to improve your English, Audiofiles may become your new best friend. Audiofiles is the audio version of longform journalism – what I have called “more than news, different than fiction.”

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Lessons for better English


Lessons for better English is a collection of Successful English articles – organized like a textbook or course outline – for English students and teachers. Its goal – to help you improve your English by helping you understand and practice successful language acquisition.

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A free ticket to Narnia


The Chronicles of Narnia, according to one writer, is one of the few sets of books that everyone should read three times – in childhood, in early adulthood, and late in life. Many of my students have enjoyed the Chronicles, written by C.S. Lewis. They’re enjoyable and easy to understand for both intermediate and advanced English learners. And now an audio version of the Chronicles is available – free!

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Something to read at the end of 2011


Welcome to the 2011 holiday edition of Something to read! Two of my favorite sources for online reading have just published their end-of-2011 reading lists, and I want to share them with you.

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Reading improves students’ writing


There’s strong agreement among the writers, teachers, and researchers I know best: good writing comes from reading. Many students, however, have trouble accepting this fact. In this article – a case study – I describe the effect that reading has had on one student’s writing.

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A language teacher acquires a new language


Alex teaches English at an American university. He’s also the director of the university’s TESL program, where students learn how to teach English as a second language. When he wanted to learn Spanish, he began as many English learners do. And failed. He found success, though, when he applied a simple principle and found some creative ways to make it work.

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Better reading – look for the clues


When you read to improve your English, you want to read for pleasure. You want to choose something that’s easy and interesting, that allows you to “get lost” in what you’re reading and forget that it’s English. But sometimes you must read to learn, for example, on the TOEFL exam. What do you do then?

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